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Too Cool for School?

I don’t think we have discussed this before: your design education. We did talk a little bit about graduate programs here, but not much on previous academic experiences.

Here are a few questions: What was your experience at design/art school? Did you even go to design/art school? Were any of your teachers a big influence on you? Was it just a waste of time and money? Do you wish you could have gone to design/art school to start with?

I have also been reading a lot about how design schools don’t prepare people for the “real world” and how designers nowadays are not suited to come into a firm and contribute right away. In my opinion there is no school or program that will ever prepare you well enough for the everyday nuisances that you’ll find at your job. That’s why you get a job. To keep learning and use the education you received.

Another concern I’ve heard is that designers are taught to decorate instead of think. They are taught that the solution is what matters and not the process. That form is more important than content. Of course there are exceptions, but is this becoming the norm for design education?

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ARCHIVE ID 1357 FILED UNDER Design Academics
PUBLISHED ON Feb.03.2003 BY Armin
WITH COMMENTS
Comments
Steven’s comment is:

I didn't go to a design/art school. I wanted to go to Portfolio Center or something like it for graduate work, but never did. I think the main reason I feel so comfortable with the fact I haven't gone, is that my school's art/design/advertising departments did such a good job of staffing. Half of my teacher/professors were there part-time and held down real jobs in design and advertising firms. I felt like I got a lot of good real world experience from those classes. They had many projects that mirrored current or recent client projects in their firms.

On Feb.03.2003 at 09:06 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

I have a BFA in art with a concentration in Graphic Design from a state college. Our school had a strong art and design curriculum (Fine Arts, Art Education, Interior Design, Industrial Design, Graphic Design) so it was a well rounded experience. At the time I went, we had a few part time professors who were working graphic designers, so they brought nice real-world projects in. We also had two professors that were big on process more than anything. Giving us projects that we'd hate (as they were bland 'clients') but it got us to understand process.

Our school also pushed hard for internships, so that certainly helped.

That said, during recent portfolio review sessions I've partaked in, many of the schools do simply preach decoration.

That doesn't make one approach better than the other in terms of skills...as both are imortant. It just means a student will appeal to different firms.

(My favorite story regarding this was reviewing the porfolio of one student who EVERYONE said was amazing because of his 'interactive' work. So, they asked me to look at it. This student did some projects for a septic tank company. He used flash + MTVesque aesthetic. He mentioned 'for some reason, the client didn't like this approach')

I do mostly interactive work now, and the only pet peeve I have about that is a LOT of graphic design firms (who happen to do interactive work as well) still want to see an art degree on the resume.

On Feb.03.2003 at 09:52 AM
Matt Wright’s comment is:

I will be graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology after three years with a BFA in Graphic Design (I spent two years at community college prior). This is my personal account of being here....I've been told they have a somehwhat recognized program amongst the professional world. This surprises me to no end. I sat in a critique for my advanced web design class and witnessed students put up work and the professor responded with "are you going to stand up there and tell me that this is senior level work?...You need to go back to foundation." I've come to find that most of the seniors here just don't have a clue and don't think beyond how they're going to arrange their text on the page. Our class is huge, there are still kids that I've never had a class with. There is no "community" among us, we don't have a senior studio or work area. Like I said, it surprises me to no end. Not to mention the school is accepting more and more kids into the program each year.

The program also lacks any sort of discourse about current trends, issues, or any sort of debatable material. Not one course is offered to discuss graphic design's role in society and how it can have an effect beyond the good old propaganda poster. This surprises me because the school's prominent teachers are for the most part modernists and came from the era when design was supposed to be persuassive in other ways besides advertising.

The only way they prepare us for the real world is give lectures on how firms/adgencies work and do a silly mock interview and help us prepare our resumes and portfolio's. Internships are up to us to find in the cloudy city of Rochester. Not to mention there's probably about 5 good places to intern at and there are well over 100 seniors.

So I'll stop venting and tell you that I agree with you Armin. Students are not critiqued on their ideas, but on their craft much too often. There are times when this is appropriate but this is senior year and teachers are still having to tell kids that their tracking is off or that they have a million orphans/widows to get rid of or that its just senior level work. I belive there needs to be more emphasis on concept development.

On Feb.03.2003 at 10:10 AM
Sam’s comment is:

I went to Portfolio Center from 1998-2000. I was 28 years old, had been designing book interiors for 2 years but had never designed anything in color and certainly never heard the notion of "conceptual" work. I was looking for career advancement, to get into a general design job and do a lot of other things besides typography.

P.C. was perfect for me and I would recommend it for anyone interested in practical training, a sigificant challenge, and a willingness to be totally confused. The program indeed provided more real-world projects than it sounds like undergrad programs offer. If anything, I think students get an idea that a design job (which is the whole goal of P.C.) is somehow a special kind of job, that we will be "concepting" instead of faxing, kerning, converting spot to process, etc. Work is work, and the danger of a "real-world" oriented program is that you can forget that the work part isn't always creative.

On Feb.03.2003 at 10:17 AM
Sam’s comment is:

As a contrast, I met a student from some undergrad program at a Texas university when I was in Las Vegas for the AIGA convention in 1999. She has 4 small books that were different "interpretations" of a Walt Whitman poem. One was done in the style of Paul Rand, one de Stijl version, one Bauhaus version, and one in the style of David Carson. She had imitated each style rather well. I asked her how long this whole project took her. The answer: a whole school year.

One year's tuition down the drain. I wish I could remember the school because they're ripping these kids off!

On Feb.03.2003 at 10:21 AM
anthony’s comment is:

I also have a BFA with concentration in design from a square state college in the middle of the country. When I look back on it seems like a total waste of time, if was totally unfocused and the professors, who where real world people, I even interned at one of there firms, seemed really out of touch with teaching us about client interactions and the speed at which a real life firm works. I remember having to do like 500 thumbnail sketches, now in practice I am lucky if I do 5, I know that was just exercise but there is a pretty big discrepancy there. Plus it seems like the gap between Professor and Student in the related technologies was HUGE when I went to school, the professors did not want to know or have any idea what went on in the "computer lab".

On Feb.03.2003 at 11:16 AM
d’s comment is:

I left school when I was 15. From there I was a graphic illustrator for large corporate organizations, published a magazine for a couple years and learnt from making mistakes.

When I was 25 I got hired by Studio Archetype in Atlanta and I figured that my 'university' education really started then, for the next three years.

Today I have little problem doing what I want to, but that's because I treated my employers like a college and took every opportunity to learn at their expense. I missed out on learning the fundamentals and perhaps the chance to explore and experiment, but I got to practice and learn from people like Clement Mok and other professionals.

I lived in Cambridge in the UK and had a strong family connection to the University - so I figure I just rebelled - but in other circumstances I could have appreciated the opportunitiy to go to a good school.

On Feb.03.2003 at 11:26 AM
Kevin’s comment is:

I graduated with A BFA in DESIGN ART from Concordia University in Montréal three years ago and followed up with a graduate certificate in Digital Technologies last year. The reason I draw attention to the programme being called Designn Art is that I think it aptly describes how unique the programme is at Concordia, for better and for worse.

The programme was incredibly broad(I think it is more specialised now), I was designing furniture(very badly), installations, web sites, posters and book covers all at the same time. Obviously this is good because it gives you a strong sense of design, but bad because it is in very generic terms. Because of this, the programme was very weak technically. I still have no idea how to take something to press and by third year I was teaching the profs flash. I had to learn all the technicalities of software myself. It was also very much based in Fine Art practice, and didn't build in any sort of education in commercial work practices and client relationships.

Nevertheless I really appreciated the experience on the level of "personal growth". There was a rigorous emphasis placed on ethical and sustainable design (Industrial Design projects had to be considered under full ife-cycle analysis), political and social context and consequences of work etc. and some very interestinfg conferences (and they're bringing Ellen Lupton on the 13th).

I suppose it comes down to what people personally consider the predominant role of higher education, should it train you to join the work force effectively or should it educate on a broader level. Ideally it should do both. For me, Concordia completely missed the first part, but I've done alright on my own.

I plan to go to graduate school in Holland next year. I think the type of education in Europe, and Holland speciafically is very different from what is offered in North America, but maybe that's something of another discussion.

On Feb.03.2003 at 01:03 PM
Armin’s comment is:

My experience was pretty good. I went to a big college in Mexico, it was a 4 year BFA program. The thing that happens with design programs in Mexico is that some of them are rather easy to get through and in some instances are filled with women, having a good time and looking for a rich husband, at the expense of their parents money and the university's faculty. I'm not making this up, it's very true. So in terms of learning from other stundents it was a very frustrating experience. And forget about healthy competition, it was all to see who got the highest grades, even if that involved creating hundreds of sketches that all looked the same. I was the only outspoken one who actually criticized (no surprise there, right?) their work, by the end of the program I had two friends left.

I was lucky that I had some pretty good teachers, specially the last year and a half. They never talked a lot about their experiences at work, but they were good at teaching basics. This was '95 or so and they were still teaching us how to do mechanicals and drawing our own cropmarks and registration marks and web sites were considered a thing of the american devil.

My last year I took a couple of courses on industrial design, where I designed and sketched a lot of chairs, tables, lamps and other cool 3d things. That was a big eye opener for me. And the teacher was probably the best one I had. All of my girlie class thought I was crazy for taking that course, since it was optional. God forbide one would do something extra!

I also discovered a great collection of design books in our library, that have probably been unopened since I left. And I would spend hours just reading and learning about design on my own.

Last year they opened a new building for the Design program and it looks like a great learning space, if just the students took it more seriously, then we would be in business.

On Feb.03.2003 at 01:07 PM
Tom’s comment is:

> And I would spend hours just reading and learning about design on my own.

That's the key!!!

On Feb.03.2003 at 01:20 PM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

I went to Northeastern University in Boston because I wanted to be an athletic trainer. When I realized this path was not meant for me and turned my attention towards creativity, I decided to enter the Department of Visual Arts at Northeastern. I suppose I stayed out of convenience but I don't regret not attending or transferring to a pure art school. The professors were accomplished and one could not have asked for better facilities.

My professors went either to Yale or to the Basel School of Design so they were very strict in us learning idea generation and maintaining the history and tradition of design rules and practices. Wonderful. However, they never offered a real insight into the career development of a designer or how it will be once we're out in the "real world" even though our school operated on the co-op method of education. Like a lot of you have said, one learns in the trenches.

Where I find schools lacking, at least at Northeastern, is in technical knowledge. I understand not everyone has to know how to reformat a hard drive or such but technical knowledge that a graphic designer uses everyday should be covered even if it is to a minimal degree.

Working in the screenprinting industry developing computer to screen technologies and color proofing systems over the last year, and after stints at interactive and design firms, I realize that I revceived close to zero production training in undergraudate school. Sure color theory, typography, art history are very important but “real world” production experience is just as important —�an integral part to any design curriculum.

I remember in one of my advanced design classes, people were still placing jpegs in Quark documents! I think it would be very important for an undergraduate design program to have a class geared just towards production. Setting up die lines, color management, differences between file types and applications, workflow strategies, how to set up documents for production, proofing, visits to offset and screenprinting facilities, densitometer and spectrophotometer introductions, ICC profiling, dot gain, film retouching, correct PostScript file generation, RIP technology, etc.

I know this is way more than the average graphic designer needs to know but I think it is important and would be very beneficial for any designer entering the field. Experience and motivation play a huge role in the development of a good graphic designer, however I believe some technical foundation has to be learned - early. That's what I would like to see become more of a part in today's design programs.

On Feb.03.2003 at 02:18 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>P.C. was perfect for me and I would recommend it for anyone interested in practical training

I haven't been around too many schools to provide a definitive opinion, but I think the energy and pace of that school are unparallel to anything I've seen or heard of. I was able to witness it first hand, since my wife went there and I taught there for a while, students bust their ass big time and in return they get an excellent education and training. They do a great job in exposing their students to the best designers out there with their thursday lectures. Everybody who's anybody (Scher, Victore, Valicenti, Carson) has spent a day there talking to the students and that's invaluable to PC's education process.

On Feb.03.2003 at 02:21 PM
Tim’s comment is:

I attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design for two and a half years before I left for a job with a company some friends of mine from school started up. This was in 93. I eventually found myself working at a small design house in Minneapolis mainly doing interactive work. Recently laid off from this company I decided to go back to MCAD and complete my degree hoping that it will jump start my career and get me back to graphic design.

The thing that struck me about working in between college is that "process" was a dirty word for the company I worked for as well as some of the clients. The bottom line is deadline and the way things look is most definitely not a priority no matter how much one protested. This was very hard for those of us that took pride in our work. I'm curious if anyone else has encountered this as much?

After being laid off, I found that not having a degree was a HUGE issue in the few interviews I got.

The bottom line is, I hope to be able to explore the design process in school and talk to people to figure out how to deal with employers and clients that want funtion over good solid design. Also, I don't see myself getting anywhere without a degree. In returning I hope that I will get in a few more doors. Am I naive?

On Feb.03.2003 at 02:27 PM
atley’s comment is:

I currently attend the UCLA School of Arts & Architecture, I'm a second year, and I've found myself unbearably disappointed with the curriculum, the teachers and the students.

They're trying to tell us they're molding us to be "art directors," not artists. They're full of shit.

The curriculum is not nearly intensive enough, every aspect of design (graphic, industrial, interior and so on) can be found in ONE major and a plethora of required undesired classes.

The teachers don't expect much so they don't assign much. There are a few guest teachers, they always tend to be the most inspiring.

The students have no sense of composition, no sense of competition, and absolutely no idea about any design community whatsoever.

The program (curriculum, teachers and students) leaves the student without much direction and almost no exposure to current trends and techniques.

UCLA has been disappointing. I wanted a thorough design education with a well-rounded and respected liberal arts background. Unfortunately, it's led me to reorganize my portfolio and apply for transfer to Art Center College of Design in .

I know that a program is all that the student puts into, don't get me wrong, I push myself more than most (all?) people here, I just get sick of the aloofness here towards design, that people think design doesn't require an overwhelming effort.

On Feb.03.2003 at 02:32 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>After being laid off, I found that not having a degree was a HUGE issue in the few interviews I got.

The problem is that there are thousands of great designers that have no work. When firm's receive resumes (if they look at them), the probability of getting nixed in that stage because of a lack of degree is very high. It doesn't matter if you have a great portfolio if you can't get yourself into an interview. If a tree falls and nobody hears it... ok I'll stop, too corny.

>employers and clients that want function over good solid design.

It's very true, when you are designing for a client you can't spend hours and hours concepting and sketching under tight deadlines, you have to produce good, fast and solid results. And above all... it has to look damn pretty.

>In returning I hope that I will get in a few more doors. Am I naive?

I wouldn't say naive, but it's a shitty situation right now for recent graduates and the more tools you have under your belt, the better chances of landing a job.

On Feb.03.2003 at 02:36 PM
Sam’s comment is:

>>students bust their ass big time

Class at 5:30 a.m. and again on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Armin's wife, as I recall, was one of the all-time champion ass-busters.

Good times, kids, good times.

On Feb.03.2003 at 02:38 PM
Armin’s comment is:

What you say 'bout my wife? ; )

I really don't know how she (and most of you guys) did it. Once she had class at 3:30 a.m.!!! Insane. In the end her portfolio and work ethics are a thing of envy at the firm she works for.

The dean of Design at Portfolio Center, Hank Richardson, has been contributing very insightful bits on education in Step magazine. It's nice that he has a forum to spread the good word.

On Feb.03.2003 at 02:46 PM
Jon’s comment is:

Hank Richardson

Does that man ever sleep? He singlehandedly put PC on the map as a design school after the heads of the advertising program left and opened their own school across town. Ok, so it helped that he turned out some quality students like "Mrs. Vit", Sam and myself. ;-) After all, we spread the gospel to the corners of the country, right?

To me, one of the greatest aspects of that school is its faculty. They all still work full-time jobs, and that keeps them up-to-date on the design field instead of getting musty, holed up on the 4th floor of some alumnus-named 'Design Wing' reading up on the latest grid designs from Switzerland.

Incidentally, I don't have a BFA in design. My undergrad is a BA in History. Portfolio Center was my first official design training.

On Feb.03.2003 at 03:01 PM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

The students have no sense of composition, no sense of competition, and absolutely no idea about any design community whatsoever.

I know that a program is all that the student puts into, don't get me wrong, I push myself more than most (all?) people here, I just get sick of the aloofness here towards design, that people think design doesn't require an overwhelming effort.

Atley, I could not have said it better myself. Northeastern was the same. Stick close to the professors or get out. Stick to resources like Speak Up. Keep pushing yourself. How frustrating.

On Feb.03.2003 at 03:07 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

I went to school, the professors did not want to know or have any idea what went on in the "computer lab".

This is a good thing in some ways. I love my computer, I rarely use paper any more, but the fact that many of my 'design' professors couldn't care less about the computer lab was a good thing in that it allowed us to concentrate on the conceptual side of things in class, and the production/craft side of things on our own...typically through group learning. Any computer classes were kept separate from the conceptual classes.

That does man a lot of tech-phobic people graduated knowing one application (QuarkXPress) and they were severely handicapped because of that. But that's their loss.

Today I have little problem doing what I want to, but that's because I treated my employers like a college and took every opportunity to learn at their expense.

Interesting comment. I've actually been dissapointed in that the bigger firms I've worked at didn't really have a whole lot to offer in terms of training. I rarely saw the client, art direction was rather 'do this/do that' rather than insightful feedback, etc. A lot of that was due to the fact that I was doing web work and the firm's management/senior level creatives were all solidly print based, of course.

There are a few trends I've seen lately, as well:

Respected Design Schools have opened up their doors to many more students than they can handle and/or are truly qualified candidates simply because it's a trendy program (and more revenue because of that). This has diluted the talent coming out of these schools.

Many tech schools have whipped up 'media arts' programs for the sole purpose of attracting more paying students. Unfortunately, these programs are typically just awful.

Few graphic design programs seem to offer any theoretical/business course requirements. Marketing. Business. Psychology. Etc. I think these would be invaluable additions to any program.

On Feb.03.2003 at 04:28 PM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

Few graphic design programs seem to offer any theoretical/business course requirements. Marketing. Business. Psychology. Etc. I think these would be invaluable additions to any program

Agreed. I think you mentioned this during an earlier discussion, and it's very true. A course in psychology would certainly apply to any design curriculum, and course in general business practices would deffinately be beneficial.

I find some creative types have no concept of how to handle even the simplest phone call let alone direct client interaction or a presentation. Perhaps that comes with experience in the workplace.

On Feb.03.2003 at 05:20 PM
mGee’s comment is:

I went to Maine College of Art and majored in design.

2 things were going on.

The print/typography department was retaining a connection to development and we had to work on paper before moving on to Quark and Fontographer.

The one weakness... not enough real aworld applications... such as actually taking something to press... granted there competitions among the students to get experience with local businesses.. but these were usually won by the teacher's favorites...who weren't necessarily the best designers in the clash.

No on the web/"new media" side of things... we had instructors with a ignorance with regards to technical issues such as scripting... they played (and continue to from what I hear) up the usage and over-dependance of flash and dreamweaver. They went as far as to influence students to NOT learn html... that it's just a waste of time. This is the problem in design school. Automatically students are drawn to web/new media because they don't have to actually think. They can just design something "slick" in photoshop... slice it up in imageready and throw it into dreamweaver... or they can "play" in flash. Yes the word "play" is thrown around alot by instructors.

Peace

mGee

www.digitexturia.com

On Feb.04.2003 at 12:07 AM
pk’s comment is:

god, going to college in the early nineties was a nightmare. my first year we learned traditional pasteup, marker rendering, all those damned formulas for typesetting copyblocks...all really useful stuff.

the next year, they had disemboweled the entire department and stuck in a computer lab with 20 Mac SE's running illustrator fucking three (which, at that point, would only run in keyline view).

the worst part? a faculty that refused to unify. our education became the battleground for that tired old mac versus traditional argument. some of the professors would not acknowledge that computers were changing the discipline while others encouraged us to horizontally-scale our type whenever possible.

all in all, we got a great education only because we had to consider every little move we made. i came out of that class, so did tony brock of NCSU's design department, and so did kevin bradley, who now owns yee-haw industries in knoxville. rock.

On Feb.04.2003 at 01:48 AM
Ikaika’s comment is:

I'm impressed that nobody mentioned the totally ridicoulus tuition fees in America!!

I'm interested in attending college but the fees are way too high. Education is suppose to be free or at least affordable right? Let's take RISD for example where the tuition fee for one academic year is $32.000. Now I know it's one of the best schools there is but come on. After 4 years you're left with a big red - on your bank account and a diploma that's suppose to guarantee you a nice job with lots of $$$. We all know that's mostly not the case.

How did you manage the huge bill after graduation?

On Feb.04.2003 at 09:01 AM
graham’s comment is:

i didn't want to go to college in the first place, but after a couple of years of paste-up/pmt camera operation and hand-rendering and type specification i realised that it might be a good idea, mainly because the kind of design work that first opened my heart (vaughan oliver/peter saville/saul bass/paul rand) seemed to me to be like looking into another world, something powerful yet dream-like, posessed of a vitality i didn't think i'd find unless i took some time to really learn.

from the start i felt it was up to me; as far as i was concerned, college was about having space and having time, and what i did with those two things was my responsibility. i was fortunate in that i had worked for a while before going, and also that i had some fantastic tutors while i was there.

i went to college at the tail-end of the eighties and into the early nineties, which i think was an amazing time-a crossover period where i'd be setting type on macintoshes in blocks and pasting up artwork to then blow up on pmt cameras and dyeline machines. there was a great letterpress room which was practically unused, which became my home for at least three years of college. the main things, though, were my peers and the tutors.

when i teach now, it seems that the computer is something that keeps students at home, alone, stuck to a screen. in my day (getting old) it was a much more communal occupation, being inspired by each other, exchanging, trying ideas, conversation, helping, learning, always learning. of course, it wasn't always rosy, but it was always vibrant and eye-opening, amazingly catholic in the range of approaches to work that we were introduced to and pursued: everything had (still has) a value in it's context-whether idea or decoration, style or concept, hierarchies of approach in design are useless at best, destructive at worst.

phil baines was my tutor for all but my foundation course and first year, and he was brilliant (still is). for him, work was a calling, and this rubbed off onto most of us, in different ways. the main things i suppose he inspired in me (whilst at college) were that there was no such thing as the 'real world' (a knee-jerk phrase that i think is used as a sledgehammer to beat down ambition, innovation, joy, the sheer playfulness of design), which i have since come to realise was absolutely true; also, that the notion that any piece of graphic design could be a 'solution', or even that clients had 'problems', was something that seemed to come out of the design phraseology of the eighties and suddenly became some kind of truth. this was something we questioned all the time (still do)-and i suppose that is the crux of it. i learnt to question, to never trust in these terms that are used around design, to try to always approach this project in front of me as af it were the first and last thing i'd ever do, but most of all i learnt to learn and keep on learning.

sorry for rambling-maybe this seems all really rosy, and of course it wasn't, but going to college was the second best thing i've done in my life, and i think that education can be a wonderful thing. :)

On Feb.04.2003 at 10:13 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

How did you manage the huge bill after graduation?

By partaking in another American' favorite...I joined the military.

Do note that we have state run colleges here that are (while still expensive) significantly lower cost than the private institutions.

On Feb.04.2003 at 12:27 PM
Ikaika’s comment is:

You mean like community college wich is around $8.000-$10.000.

Anybody going/went to college in Europe?

It's way cheaper there

On Feb.04.2003 at 01:14 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Over here, 'community college' is typically a term referring to schools offering 2-year tech school degrees, though many, if not all of them now offer full 4 year degrees.

State run schools are schools partly financed through state budgets. They also favor in-state students (lower tuition).

On Feb.04.2003 at 02:14 PM
d’s comment is:

in my day (getting old) it was a much more communal occupation, being inspired by each other, exchanging, trying ideas, conversation, helping, learning, always learning. of course, it wasn't always rosy, but it was always vibrant and eye-opening,

Graham's point is excellent - and perhaps one of the things I missed from a college environment where I might have been happy surrounded by a few other inspired, inspiring and motivated creative people.

An architect I admire, for both his designs and the fact that he never went to school, is

Tadao Ando. But I don't rate this as a story of rebellion or anything, but simply someone who must have worked extremely hard, and is incredibly talented, to have been able to create a body of work that is compared along side others, who have studied and chosen the 'normal path'.

Oh, and excellent point about school fees - in the UK, there are many complaints about the government's screwing around with grants and loans, but the fees pale in comparrison. Which is a good thing, because it does make it easier for someone to consider going back to college and not be inhibited by astronomical fees.

On Feb.04.2003 at 02:40 PM
Stephen Coles’s comment is:

I haven't been to a lick of design school. My work probably doesn't show it, but my inability to work with clients might. They should teach more of that — I assume it's uncommon.

Sam, you were at Las Vegas AIGA? Me too. So sorry I didn't know you. Would have been fun to pal around.

On Feb.05.2003 at 05:39 AM
Tamye Riggs`’s comment is:

I'm particularly interested in the level of typographic education people have received. Who's had a great experience? Who had to learn it all on their own? What are the best schools for typography ed in conjunction with a design program? Who are the best and worst typographic educators?

On Feb.05.2003 at 03:50 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>I'm particularly interested in the level of typographic education people have received.

Well... for my thesis project I decided to design a typeface. I only heard a resounding "WHAT?" from my classmates (see earlier comment for background on them) and my teachers. They all looked at me like I was crazy. Fortunately the dean of design had taken a course in typeface design and she was a big help, not too big but enough to get some sound advice. Another teacher who jumped in at the last moment had a masters in typography from the Basel school in switzerland and had designed a couple of typefaces for big mexican corporations, and he knew quite a bit. But mostly, I had to do most of the learning part on my own.

Now, there used to be an awesome typeface design teacher at Portfolio Center... but has since moved on to Chicago ; )

Seriously, I have seen many great typefaces come out of PC, a few from my class, others from other random classes. I was the only one who taught them the process and the why's and how's of typeface design. The other teachers just let them go wild and do whatever they wanted. Truth is, I'm no expert in typography, I barely know the names of the parts that make up a glyph, but I understand typography and was able to pass that to the students. They thought about typeface design only as a good addition to the students portfolio. Dumb.

I don't have many to show, but these are a couple of typefaces from my first quarter students. I wish I had more.

On Feb.05.2003 at 04:13 PM
Sam’s comment is:

Stephen--that would've been cool. I was the guy at the buffet!

>>Shouldn't desing philosophy be the core of our education. The business side will come when a student gets their first job, right?

I respectfully disagree, but this may only be because my perspective tends toward the practical rather than the academic (this coming from a former comparative literature major who was heavily into literary theroy in college, lifetimes ago). A lot of students have difficulty on the job because they didn't learn practical job skills and weren't really prepared for the work element of a job. Also, so-called design philosophy wouldn't fill a whole curriculum, unless you were to try to read all of Steven Heller's books!

On Feb.06.2003 at 09:29 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Back to Tamye's question, I may be wrong, but there is no place to get an undergraduate education solely in typography and typeface design in the US. I have no facts to back up this claim, but I've never heard of such a thing.

Most typeface designers are self taught or have pursued some sort of graduate study in the field. Would it be necessary to have a 4 year program devoted to typography?

The only way to get an idea of what typeface design is is to get enrolled in a Graphic Design course. Even that is no sure thing. I think most typeface designers don't want anything to do with graphic design or they do it because it pays the bills while they do what they love.

Hey...Typographica people... what do you think?

On Feb.06.2003 at 12:28 PM
Sam’s comment is:

please don't let this become a discussion of the difference between the terminology "typography" and "typeface design."

*ducks a bitch-slap from armin*

On Feb.06.2003 at 02:52 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>please don't let this become a discussion of the difference between the terminology "typography" and "typeface design."

It's not intended to be. That would put everybody to sleep. I was just saying man...

On Feb.06.2003 at 03:12 PM
Sam’s comment is:

Oh I wasn't referring to you, Armin. I meant to the general populace.

On Feb.06.2003 at 03:16 PM
ben’s comment is:

I graduate in 2001 from Washington University. I initially wanted to combine design and computer science, but ended up more towards design and less towards CS. The program there is based on two years of "core" studies (drawing, 2D and 3D design, along with electives). The design studio covers the last two years of study. This model leaves little time to cover the business and production sides of graphic design. We had one or two classes on professional practice, and didn't move into production much beyond reminding everyone that QuarkXpress doesn't include fonts in Collect for Output. Like many programs, often the students knew more about the computer and software then the professors.

However, despite these limitations, I found the program to be an amazing experience. We learned to set type first in metal, then on the computer. We had a year long class on the fundamentals of typography. Our class, which was the largest the program had or has had was about 30. We were pushed to develop multiple clear concepts for each project. We had a common studio space for each class that stayed alive until at least 3 am. We had lively debates about design, midnight break dance sessions, and a group of peers willing to comment professionally on your work.

Though I wish that we would have had some more training in production and professional practice, the ability to augment our design education with whatever else we wanted from the rest of the university was a worthwhile tradeoff. Because of that our class had senior projects ranging from a series web interfaces based on the theory of multiple intelligences, books on traditional japanese fabric dying and the history of feminism through the history of female comic book characters, poster campaigns on the plight of filipina domestic helpers and sleep deprivation, a typeface grounded in Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, and an examination of everyday information.

On Feb.06.2003 at 09:09 PM
ben’s comment is:

err, apparently I also took monkey-speak classes.

"I graduate" = "I graduated"

On Feb.06.2003 at 09:12 PM
steve’s comment is:

i attended a public university and graduated with a degree in visual communications in May 2002. I just saw on the news how Chicago leads the nation in loss of jobs since 9/11. good news for me, huh? while in school my education in design spanned a diverse spectrum. we had a variety of teachers, from conceptual to real world from web to typeface. i think what our staff tried to establish was an extreme variety of professors that could appeal to all sorts of students. I focused my attention to a specific professor as did many of my peers. As a successful designer and educator from Poland I felt she possessed a wealth of knowledge and managed to share and participate with students in the least condescending way. we are good friends now and looking back on it I not only learned about good design and life and actually how both relate. who said a public educations isn't good!?

On Feb.06.2003 at 11:12 PM
Ikaika’s comment is:

Anybody got some information on good UK schools or how not to get robbed by the US schools?

On Feb.07.2003 at 09:40 PM
Damien’s comment is:

Anybody got some information on good UK schools

Like what, in particular?

On Feb.08.2003 at 12:48 AM
Kevin’s comment is:

I just received the application package fromLondon College of Printing and it looks amazing though the tuition is still exorbitant coming from Canada. They offewr a wide range of specialised programmes from Book-arts to Digital Media to Photo Journalism at both undergraduate, honours and Masters levels. I am also looking into schools in Holland at a graduate level. Does anyone have any info?

On Feb.09.2003 at 04:24 PM
Sue’s comment is:

I’m a 24-year-old English/Business graduate without any current financial obligations. I’ve been accepted to a few MFA programs with varying price tags (University of Washington=complete tuition waiver; Carnegie Mellon=50k; North Carolina State University=35k). Not only do I want to practice, I want to teach and write at the college-level. As a stranger to the design community, I’m not sure how these programs are viewed outside academia. My question is how much the reputation of the school will affect my career--should I incur the debt in order to strengthen my resume?

I’d love to hear how these programs are regarded in the design world. Also, let me know if you’ve interacted with any of the faculty.

Thanks!

On Mar.23.2004 at 07:08 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>I am a senior in the Graphic Communications program at the University of Houston.

Mark -- fellow UH alumni here. Thought I'd say hi. There's a number of us scattered across the country, working every place from large (Landor) to small (Jager Paolo de Kemp) to in-house depts. (Limited, Gap). For example, did you know that Eric Madsen is an alumni?

I think ultimately, the recognition and reputation of any particular design program is most dependent on the proliferation and success of its graduates. That's the truest testament. UH is indeed a rare gem -- looking back, I count my blessings that I went there instead of another Tx program. So your task as a UH alumni is to graduate, leave Houston, and make a name for yourself elsewhere. No pressure.

And btw, did you know that the University of Washington here in Seattle has a design program that's almost identical to UH's? They call their block review a "cut" program or something like that. Ultra-competitive, intense design studies, and class groupings identical to UH's. Their school director, Chris Ozubko, is a good friend and colleague of Craig Minor, a former UH design dept director.

Go Cougs!

On Mar.24.2004 at 07:19 PM
tuan’s comment is:

hi sue,

i'm an alum from calarts01, my teachers were almost all cranbrookians. i did undergrad at houston with michigan and cranbook faculty (hi tan, i remember you visiting us and showing us your portfolio back in 96-97ish). i currently teach at ut-austin,which also has a yale-ite and cranbrookian faculty.

from an academia standpoint i can say:

ncsu

yale

risd

vcu

cranbrook

michigan

calarts

seem to produce good teachers. at any decent design dept across the nation you will find a mfa alum from one of these schools. from their online undergrad portfolio, washington seems to produce hardcore professionals, their whole faculty seem to be from cranbrook, which can't be a bad thing. i am not aware of their mfa program. i'm not sure about carnegie. richard buchanan teaches there, i've read some good articles from him.

i've attended a meredith davis lecture. she's sharp. i've had denise gonzales crisp as a professor back in calarts. she is an excellent designer. i've attended a john rousseau lecture. he's a very philosophical designer. i saw some interesting projects he gave to undergrads at washington. his design work is solid.

whatever kind of writing are you interested in doing could be determining factor of where you attend. you should ask which school would foster that.

good luck.

On Mar.24.2004 at 11:14 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Hey Tuan. Teaching at UT now, huh?...Hmm. God, I remember visiting your class way back when. Kinda embarrased about what I showed you guys now. Any more Cougs out there? This is becoming Classmates.com here.

...and Sue. You should ping Jason Tselentis, one of the other authors here. He's a recent mfa grad from UW. Doesn't seem too bitter about it either. He'll have some insights.

On Mar.25.2004 at 02:37 AM
tuan’s comment is:

almost had the opportunity to teach back at uh, but the stars, moons and planets weren't aligned. minor and mcdermott retired from the program and they ended up hiring another cranbrook and a calarts person.

i am just a visiting lecturer at ut. i am trying to interview for other jobs elsewere. ut has a good "D"esign program. they have architects, industrial designers and graphic designers on faculty. i've seen a cougar in their mfa program.

.

On Mar.26.2004 at 01:51 PM
tommy777 ’s comment is:

Damien’s comment was:

"Anybody got some information on good UK schools?"

Would anyone be interested in applying to a design school in New Zealand?

I am an American and graduated from VCU.

I know this sounds like a blatent advertisement - But I think the school I teach at, Wanganui School of Design in NZ is just as good as RSDI or Cal Arts or any other American school.

It is in New Zealand but was originally set up by an American staff that included lecturers from Cranbrook, Cal Arts, MCAD and VCU.

The tuition is only $17,000 New Zealand and with the exchange rate that would be about $10,000 a year in US dollars.

Also, rent costs are lower here.

You can rent an entire four bedroom house for $700 NZ per month -- Most of the students rent a house and share so their rent per month ends up being $350 NZ per month -- and that would be about $200 per month US.

And it is a beautiful and fascinating place to live.

Wanganui School of Design in New Zealand is considered one of the best on the pacific rim. The structure of the program is set up following the US system NASAD, which is the same system as MCAD, RSD, CALarts.

The website address is WSD.AC.NZ or email

[email protected]

Our students are getting great jobs all around the world-

Here is a letter from a student that I recieved who just got a job at Saatchis in Sydney:

alice dick wrote: please forward to staff

Hello Hazel ! (head of Wanganui School of Design program)

How is everything in Wanganui?? Thought I'd let you know that I have been in Sydney for about 2 1/2 months

and have just got myself a wonderful job with saatchi and saatchi, i am the design departments new junior designer! I am working for Saatchi Design - so they have different clients to the ad agency, (more like a design studio i guess) There are 3 existing designers... But the whole building is huge (about 150 offices) - has its own bar and library ( so many wonderful books...) yippee they are very cool bunch of people and are one of the top design studios in sydney! i am very happy, so thanks to the wanganui school

of d. i start next monday - (so only about 6 more shifts at the dumb cafe!).

Hope everything in Vegas is running smoothly!.

Bye !! ALice Dick.

On May.06.2004 at 12:52 AM
mitch’s comment is:

i am attending RISD for my BFA in 2006. A few notes:

RISD tution for 03-04 was just over $28,000 (not including fees, housing, etc..) not $32,000. I justify it by knowing that the degree from risd puts me in highly favorable postion to interview for some of the best design jobs available. (note i only said interview - thats all the name does for you - its the portfolio that gets the job - tho i do think the education is very good too.) besides you can defer some loans practically forever :)

Typography is a big deal here, you take 12 credits of it and you start learning it old skool - goauche and so on - only minimal computer (if any) for Type 1 (3 credits). Type 2 (6 credits) is more computer and Type 3 (3 credits) i'll tell ya when i take it.

I STRONGLY agree with the idea of a practical class in the mechanics of production and so on, i have in fact approached the department head (Cranbrooker Nancy Skolos) with having a 3 credit class on just that - everything from making color seperations to copyright overviews and client meetings. (call it Professional Practice 101) We will see what happens.

One of my favorite parts of risd is that it attracts big names to lecture - in the past year i have seen (or missed) David Carson, Andrew Blauvelt, Ellen Lupton, David Small, Dave Eggers, Martin Venezky (amazing - also teaching here for a year), Christiaan Vermaas, Amy Sedaris, GWAR, and a bunch i am forgetting.

one of my least favorite parts of risd is that you are encouraged NOT to take classes outside of your major, save for a short semester every winter (6 weeks usually) when you can take basically anything, tho they are usually specialty or unusual classes (which is cool in its own way.) You really have to beg borrow and steal to get into that silk-screen class, it pisses me off.

i personally think that the education at risd is no better or worse than at any other reputable design school, but the reputation and the connections you get here are excellent. the other thing i have noticed is that EVERYONE here is extrememly talented, its really humbling as hell - i constantly wonder if i am the one talentless guy that managed to sneak thru the cracks. it always grounds me whenever i start thinking im more talented than i am.

On May.06.2004 at 01:51 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Tommy, thanks for the introduction to that school, I would go there just to be able to say Wanganui all day long, it's a cool word (does it mean anything?).

I don't know if it's coincidence or what, but lately I have heard a lot about design and New Zealand. (I have to say too that I have many New Zealanders on Speak Up's mailing list). First I incidentally ran across allaboutbranding.com, a nice place with a lot of good info on branding. Then I went to DNA design's web site since they run that above-mentioned site. And just a day later, a girl who works at DNA ordered a Speak Up T-shirt and I sent two by mistake so in return I got this fabulous package of stuff done by DNA, including their own promotions, and a little annual of design from NZ. Nice stuff. Real nice stuff.

Point slowly being that NZ is posing itself to be the next "hot center" for design incubation.

On May.06.2004 at 12:59 PM
Yitz Woolf’s comment is:

I have no design background whatsoever. I have a BSc in Marketing, an internship as a copywriter at Dentsu NYC, and then went into sales. My b2b clients needed collateral and my boss wouldn't provide any. I taught myself Adobe Illustrator, left the job, took a web master and quark course (quark is bad; InDesign rocks) and now I am working full time as a freelancer.

Books, associates, online tutorials and this website have been my schooling. Not to mention my parents and 4 siblings are all artistic.

On May.07.2004 at 09:10 AM
david’s comment is:

I sort of remember reading about a phd (piled higher and deeper) program in tyography from a school in new zealand. does anyone know anything about this. i may have gotten the location wrong, but...

ccac undergrad (i loved this program...very good mix of practical and conceptual)

ucla mfa (begin this fall)

On May.07.2004 at 10:07 AM
J’s comment is:

It's great to see this discussion surface. I've seen disclosure of people's educational backgrounds here and there on SU, but being an occasional reader I hadn't seen this one yet. I find it fascinating and instructive, as well as germane to my own situation. Please forgive the long version that follows, but I feel like it might enable people to give me some solid advice by knowing the details.

In high school, I took as many art classes as allowed, this included a graphic design class in which I mostly remember making show flyers for my and my friends bands. In washington state, where I knew I would remain, we only had one Art School that was on my radar: Cornish College of the Arts. Alas, Cornish inspired dread in my highschool brain as they wanted to see a portfolio, of all things, before letting me in. I refused to be disciplined in such a way. So, with a meager art scholarship in hand*, I went to The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wa.

You may know some of the creative work of our alumni, even if you don't recognize them as being from Evergreen; it's a great liberal arts school. Evergreen does not have grades** or majors, and they barely have academic departments. In fact, there are very few educational requirements at all. I took one test in four years. They don't have a design program either. They do have a foundations in visual arts program and a mediaworks (film) program, neither of which I took. I cleared my one art class requirement for my scholarship by taking a student run practicum for one quarter. After that, I was all about anthropology, psychology, technology, media and film studies (criticism). I did more of those band flyers, and tape/cd covers on the side, as well as some illustration work and participated in some digital media projects.

I walked out of Evergreen without any debt. I lived at home and commuted the first year, and worked as near to full time as possible the entire duration of my stay. It was a fantastic educational experience.

I enjoyed studying so much at Evergreen I decided to pursue an MA in the Humanities with the eventual plan for a PhD. Evergreen does not have the kind of graduate offerings that I was interested in. So I did what any self respecting self-directed learner would do: I went to a school who's image is almost diametrically opposed to that of Evergreen. I attended the University of Chicago. At UC, I excelled in my course work, was one of the first in my program to finish my thesis and was selected to present an excerpt of it to prospective students. I had great interactions with high-caliber professors who could really knock your socks off (literally, in one case even).

However, I also discovered that I was no longer passionate about the subject matter I was studying.

After UC, I moved to New York with my partner and landed a job with an academic institution working for their technology department doing what anyone trained in graduate work in the humanities is prepared to do (if they didn't specialize), that is, answering phones and shelving boxes. Ah, but that led to an opportunity to show off my fly-by-night design skills and landed me in a position within the web group, which turned into a better position in the publications group (punk rock flyers, paid off in the end, ironic no?). Working for a school has been great. They've sent me to see Tufte speak, sent me to both technology / production courses as well as sponsoring some continuing education classes in design at SVA.

So after all that, here's the deal. Graduate education in design or not? Yes or no? Or, would a BFA, even at my age, be more sensible? I'm primarily self-taught, but I have been augmenting that slowly since I began working in new york. My current position is about 40 percent design work and 60 percent other. I feel like I may be ready to begin planning for the next step in my career, and through my experiences at TESC and UC I know I have a love of the educational process and academics in general. I feel passionate about the topic at hand. And, it has been a presence in my life no matter what else I was doing. But I'm still carrying a large amount of debt from my first tangle with grad school. I would definitely need to find a communications or graphic design program that was interdisciplinary in the sense of there being inroads to illustration, interaction design and even critical theory. The end game for me is professional practice with strong options for doing some teaching.

That's what I'm wrestling with. If anyone has any advice, suggestions for schools, or wants to tell me I'm crazy, I'm interested.

thanks.

----

* the application didn't require submitting more than a couple of pieces of work and a recommendation from your teacher.

** they have evaluations which are quarterly narratives written by both the students and faculty.

On May.07.2004 at 04:59 PM
tanya’s comment is:

Armin, the town of Wanganui in New Zealand is named after the Wanganui river and is the Maori word for big mouth, referring to the "big mouth" of the Wanganui river.

I am familiar with the design studio-DNA- I am proud to say that two excellent students who graduated from here a few years ago are now working there. For such a small country New Zealand produces some amazing design work. (and film and fashion) I think there is something very special about the people here.

On May.09.2004 at 03:31 AM
tanya’s comment is:

david’s comment is:

I sort of remember reading about a phd (piled higher and deeper) program in tyography from a school in new zealand. does anyone know anything about this. i may have gotten the location wrong, but...

David, I have never heard of a PHD in typography, in New Zealand. Maybe it was Australia.

On May.09.2004 at 03:45 AM
Hector Mu�oz’s comment is:

Sorry but I�m not familiar with the terminology... what�s a BFA?

Armin I have suffered a good deal of the bad experiences you had at school. Most of my classmates are just in school for not having to face the real life, the few who care a bit about their careers are mostly interested in learning how to do nice tricks. I�m in charge of the school�s gacette and can�t get any inside writing to publish, not even from the teachers.

Fortunately I have been tutored by a very good professor on the design workshop for the last four semesters. I�m glad of finishing the school on june, and hope to be reaching my degree in october (because of professional service and thesis)

On May.09.2004 at 12:01 PM
david’s comment is:

many apologies...the phd program is in australia...here is the link...

http://www.agda.asn.au/skills/other/APhDintypography.html

On May.09.2004 at 06:49 PM
Christopher Simmons’s comment is:

I dropped out of CCA (back when it was called CCAC, before "Crafts" was a dirty word) about half way throught the design program. The rest of what I know I learned on the job. I was fortunate enought to have a good mentor, and I credit myself for being generally pretty bright and for having a bit of an eating disorder when it comes to my appetite for knowledge.

I was also lucky enought to be working in pretty high times. I don't think it would be as easy now. Not that it was easy then...

Some consider it ironic that I now teach at my not-quite-alma mater, but the truth is I value education tremendously. It just so happened that I received mine through less institutionalized means.

As educators, we're always saying it's impossible to adequately teach design in a four year program. Perhaps we ought to start looking at design education more vocationally, where school is the foundation of a system that ultimately becomes about apprenticeship. I've seen plenty of horrible books from design graduatess, but fewer from those who have lasted in the profession for more than a few years. With formalized mentorship who knows how that ratio could be improved.

Of course, what do I know, I ain't got much of that book learnin' in me.

On May.09.2004 at 08:40 PM
Kelley’s comment is:

As an outsider looking in - our daughter is a Jr. in high school (in the northeast) and is currently assessing college options for a BFA in Graphics Design. So far the narrowed field includes: RISD, MICA, SCAD, Michigan, RIT and possible Washington (but very far from home)...we have only visited MICA so far (seemed too small for her) and are headed to SCAD next week...Questions for you guys...

> which shcools are most valued at this point and why

> she is really strong in languages (Fr and SP) and academically (very high SATs) - are Art programs from liberal arts schools such as U or Michigan viewed comparable to Art and Desgin schools in the industry?

thanks for any insights you can provide...

On Mar.22.2005 at 11:52 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Kelley,

I have heard very good things about all the art schools but not about the bog colleges. RISD has a great faculty and good reputation, students come out very well prepared from there; for some small insight, you can peek at designcrit.com, a blog run by RISD students; if Mitch G is somewhere around here, he might be better suited to talk about RISD.

SCAD is another school with great reputation and, well, it's in Savannah, so the setting is quite beautiful and, I assume, because there is little big-city distractions there is a lot of time that can be put to good use for school work.

MICA, seems to be getting stronger, but I haven't heard much.

> are Art programs from liberal arts schools such as U or Michigan viewed comparable to Art and Desgin schools in the industry?

One thing to know about art schools is that it is all design all the time, so the education is very targeted and specific which — in my personal opinion — builds a great foundation for students to become professionals, and if your daughter already has an inclination for liberal arts, she might seek that out on her own. Knowing what I know now — and I don't mean for this to be applicable to everybody — I would recommend a small art school 9 times out of 10. However, a big college presents more variety and it is more of that "college experience".

On Mar.22.2005 at 03:00 PM
Tan’s comment is:

I actually recommend the opposite, Armin.

I think for undergrad work, it's important to find a university that has strong offerings for courses outside of just art-related curriculums. Good science, strong math, and creative writing all make for a more well-rounded education. And in the end, I've found that the best designers are those who can think critically, but more importantly, have been exposed and challenged to think critically outside of the context of just art and design.

A couple of other things to consider — some of the major universities are very well funded, which means they're sometimes better equipped, and more fully staffed with top-notched faculty. Even the best art schools struggle to compensate and compete with federally-funded state universities.

Secondly, a large percentage of college students change majors after their first two years of college. Schools that offer a choice in specialization give these students options should that happen.

And just one last thing. Choose a program where students have to earn, compete, or prove their way in. In these programs, the students that are there, want and deserve to be there. You only want the best peers for your daughter. The quality of any program depends on the level and standard of those student peer groups.

On Mar.22.2005 at 05:20 PM
JonSel’s comment is:

I'd second most of what Tan said. My undergrad degree is in history, not design. I encourage this approach because you can get a healthy dose of analytical, writing and business education to match the drawing skills.

Choose a program where students have to earn, compete, or prove their way in.

Not sure about this one. Definitely some scrutiny is necessary, but maybe I'm just touchy about this because I'm not sure I'd have gotten into Portfolio Center these days with what I used to apply 10 years ago. But, I wholeheartedly agree that a good program weeds out those who just don't seem to be able to hack it.

On Mar.22.2005 at 05:41 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> I actually recommend the opposite, Armin.

And that's what makes design such a challenge� there are many ways to get into it. For Kelley's daughter's benefit I'm just glad she has two opposing views — which doesn't help make the decision any easier, but hey.

On Mar.22.2005 at 05:46 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> I have heard very good things about all the art schools but not about the bog colleges.

Just want to clarify the way that reads. First, it's big, not bog. Second, I meant to say that I have not heard anything at all about the colleges, it sounded like I had heard bad things.

That's all.

On Mar.22.2005 at 05:49 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Sure, sure...there's no one right solution. Just avoid party schools I guess.

And I was wondering what the hell 'bog' colleges were...

On Mar.22.2005 at 05:55 PM
mitch’s comment is:

AUTHOR: mitch
EMAIL: [email protected]
IP: 68.9.75.5
URL: http://www.mitchgoldstein.com
DATE: 03/23/2005 02:01:10 AM

On Mar.23.2005 at 02:01 AM
Kelley’s comment is:

thanks for your comments/advice so far ... I really appreciate the real-world insights (especially since I was a computer science/math major geek). After I submitted my question, I read another thread discussing the same types of issues.

One thing I picked up from there was the need for students to get more business and marketing exposure - but I don't see that happening in any of the schools that we've investigated so far - unless you go to a "bog" school (thanks for the clarification) - and you take that initiative yourself - agree?

Secondly - Mitch - I think I read in the other thread that RISD frowns on students taking non-major classes except during winter session - which is a concern - I would think she would benefit from some Brown classes in language, lit - etc. (she will probably test out of a lot of the required liberal classes in the art schools - she's in an IB program)...but I got the impression that they don't even want you taking classes from other RISD diciplines (Photography -etc.) - has this been your experience??

And one last question -class structure - 8 hour classes in one subject vs. two different classes in one day (4 hours each) - have seen both styles - 8 hours seems daunting (and I would think cross-polination of ideas within a day would help more) - thoughts??

Again - am so grateful for all of your time and thoughts...Kelley

On Mar.23.2005 at 12:15 PM
Kelley’s comment is:

Mitch - scratch that last question - just reread this thread and realized that the comment regarding non-major classes came from you in this thread - sorry - K

Any one have ANY insight into Michigan's program? (website is less than stellar) - hate to drive the long haul for a visit if it's not up to par...

On Mar.23.2005 at 12:26 PM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

As much as I respect the sort of professional intensity that a good design school can offer, I have two problems with them as the undergraduate experience of someone straight out of high school (in addition to the question of the quantity and quality of general education):

1) I don’t believe that a seventeen year old should be making a decision that tends to seal her fate. A good university with a good design program allows a student to discover other possibilities and, perhaps, change her mind with less inertia resisting a change of direction and fewer penalties for changing.

2) I don’t think it’s healthy for someone to spend too much time around people who think the same way. An environment where there are people who are intensely interested other things and think art and design are frivolous crap is vital to the personal development of someone who doesn’t want to become the sort of narrow fool that inhabits the art and design worlds. (Not that all the inhabitants are narrow fools but it certainly describes a large part of the population.)

On Mar.23.2005 at 01:55 PM
Mary’s comment is:

I have a 2 year degree in graphic design. It took me 11 years and 2 children to finally decide, hey, this is what I want to do. I went to colleges for fine art, art history, and botany, also. The college I went to is an awesome school now offering a 4 year degree. We were taught to think and draw and think some more. I remember one project called the lost file or something like that. It was a tedious crappy project and the proffessor said we would all most likely encounter a job like this when we worked in the real world. It taught us to measure our type and the like. Well, this one kid, right out of high school, real ass, complained the whole time. I got a job while still in college and guess what??? She was right, and I worked on a project similar to what we had just learned. As well as my schooling, I traveled to Paris for more artistic learning, I joined proffessional design clubs, had an awesome first boss who mentored me, I bought every magazine and book I could get my hands on. I still love learning because it's always changing.

On Mar.24.2005 at 10:14 PM
JonSel’s comment is:

ANY insight into Michigan's program?

Michigan is very well regarded academically. I only know one person who graduated from their art program, but she's quite a fine designer. It is a massive school, and that brings pros and cons with it. I don't know the size of the art school, but it might be a nice little community within the sprawl of a Big 10 (11? 12?) school. I hope that helps a little bit.

On Mar.27.2005 at 11:28 PM
Sooz’s comment is:

My daugher (a senior in high school) has been accepted to both RISD and the Univeristy of Michigan's School of Art & Design (Ann Arbor). She excels in photography but does not "live, breathe and eat art." She knows Michigan would be fun, but is worried their program is just "okay." She is scared to death of RISD but is afraid if she goes elsewhere, her chances for future employment will be much more difficult, as Michigan is not nearly the "name dropper" in the art world as RISD is. What should she do? HELP!

On Apr.08.2005 at 10:03 PM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

Taking career advice from me would not be considered a wise move but doing well a U Mich and then doing an MFA at a name-brand school might leave her with a career and an education.

On Apr.09.2005 at 10:31 AM